Cabling Issues

As I obliquely referenced in the entry about my new TiVo HD, I need to connect the antenna to the incoming cable line in the attic. This means I need to cut the cable and add new connectors to it.

I went to Fry’s yesterday to get some supplies for doing this (a couple of “F” connectors and a coupler, just in case I needed to reconnect the original cut cable). Immediately I ran into difficulty because I couldn’t manage to get the “F” connector installed onto the end of the cable (my suspicion is that the main cable into my house is a larger grade than normal, though it is entirely possible that I am just inept at this work).

While I was struggling with this, my wife, Marci, arrived home and almost immediately asked if I had already cut the cable and thereby disconnected the Internet. Oops. All this time I had never thought about the fact that Road Runner was delivered over that same wire. Grumble.

I needed to pick-up my bicycle from the shop Friday evening since Marci was planning to take the truck to the airport Saturday morning for her week-long trip, so I decided to go back to Fry’s while I was out and see if I could get different “F” connectors that I would have an easier time with and look for some sort of combiner to combine the Road Runner signal and the Antenna signal.

I found a crimp-type “F” connector that looked a little larger that I thought I’d have a better time fitting over the cable. I also found a combiner for Satellite and Antenna that seemed to have a very large spectrum rating so I thought it would likely work for Road Runner as well. The new “F” connectors didn’t work much better for me than the old ones and the only way I was able to restore cable television was by leaving the “F” connector off (at least on one end) and just jamming the bare center wire into the coupler while Marci gave me continuing updates of the television signal over my cell-phone. Putting the combiner in-line resulted in no cable TV signal.

Getting the cable TV signal close to 100% was very difficult and really just random small movements of the cable made very large changes. Eventually, I managed to get it near 100% while I was no longer touching it so that it didn’t change as I left. Even then, however, Road Runner still did not work and I was exceedingly frustrated. I guess Road Runner takes a while to recover because it is working this morning.

I am still left with the problem of delivering Road Runner to my router while I deliver the antenna signal to my TVs. I guess it is possible that the Satellite combiner will work for the Road Runner signal despite apparently not passing through the cable television signal. If this doesn’t work, then I can try just using a splitter in reverse, but I don’t think that is likely to work until I terminate cable TV so that it doesn’t interfere with the antenna signal. However, I am not comfortable terminating cable TV until I feel I can reliable get good connections with new connectors.

I suppose another option would be to move the cable modem and wireless router into the attic, but I currently have two computers connected with Ethernet cables (well, three if you count Marci’s laptop on which we haven’t gotten wireless working correctly yet).

My current expectation is that the real solution will be to run a new cable from the cable drop outside along the outside of the house to the study specifically for Road Runner.

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  1. #1 by Ren on September 22, 2007 - 1:34 pm

    Back to Fry’s. Bought a box of 10 “F” connectors of a different type (“compression”) that looked to have a larger diameter. I was able to get these over the cable (which I have verified is RG-6, so I don’t know why I’m having such difficulty), but the crimping didn’t quite work correctly. Still, they appear to be working well — they just don’t withstand pulling on them very hard (the cable will come out of the connector).

    I also bought a 2.4GHz splitter and connected the cable and antenna feeds through it backwards. Cable and Road Runner are both fine and I can even get PBS HD (18.2) and NBC-HD (36.1). I am hopeful that the rest will come in once I terminate cable, which I guess I am ready to do now.

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  2. #2 by Wayne on September 24, 2007 - 9:20 am

    Terminating coax is an acquired skill that takes a lot of practice. At my house we need a “powered splitter” because the cable goes 5 ways including road runner. But TWC supplied it for us during installation.

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  3. #3 by Ren on September 25, 2007 - 5:16 pm

    Well, cable was “disconnected” (blocked, really) today, but it didn’t help with the other HD channels. Apparently, there is still too much interference coming in over the line. I’ve called and scheduled another service call for tomorrow where they are going to drop an extra line for just my cable modem for $37. If it had been $60, I would have probably held off and attempted it myself.

    I haven’t done the math, but all told this looks like it may cost me a couple of extra months of the monthly savings from getting rid of cable television. I hope that the analog channels end up being “good enough” for the rest of the TVs in the house.

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  4. #4 by Ren on September 26, 2007 - 1:01 pm

    New drop is good. All happy now (well, except that I might need a VHF antenna if anybody wants to watch FOX-7 in non-HD).

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  1. Ren’s Journal » Blog Archive » Problems with FOX HD Broadcast
  2. Renagerie » Blog Archive » True Blood
  3. “Cable” TV « Renagerie

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